News / Africa

Swaziland King Open to Dialogue with Opposition, Says Adviser

King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Extraordinary Summit in Johannesburg, June 11, 2011.
King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Extraordinary Summit in Johannesburg, June 11, 2011.
Peter Clottey
An adviser to Swaziland’s King Mswati III has denied accusations the country’s leader has refused to meet with opposition groups demanding democratic forms.

Obed Dlamini, who is also a former prime minister, said he has been in meetings where the king has called on his government to hold talks with the opposition about possible political changes in the country.

“I have heard him talk in my presence in addressing meetings that the government must give an ear, even to opponents of the system, so that we hear the discerning view. This is what I have heard him say. I have never heard him say the contrary,” said Dlamini.

Dlamini said he knows nothing about opposition claims that the government has refused several requests for talks about democratic reforms. 

“I’m not so sure whether they have been denied such audience or not. If they have been, I think it must have been a mistake, unless they were forcing issues. But, if they wanted peaceful negotiations [on] the future of the country, this is what we all crave for,” said Dlamini. "The time has come for Swaziland to discuss the future of its people or allow the people to discuss the future fervently and honestly."

At a recent meeting with advisers, the king was quoted by Reuters as saying “some from the Western world have been waiting patiently and nursing hopes that the people of Swaziland will revolt and bring about regime change… Swazis are known the world over for being peace-loving and I would like to urge you to remain like that.”

Dlamini said he is aware that some foreign countries wish Swaziland was not a monarchy.

“I have been in meetings where ambassadors of Europe, in particular, have stated clearly about that,” he said.

But, Mario Masuku, leader of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), a banned opposition group, says the king’s recent pronouncement is an indication of his unwillingness to implement any democratic reforms.

“I believe that the king’s response was misplaced [and] it was unfortunate. It is only the people of Swaziland that have been calling for reform towards a democratic peaceful and prosperous Swaziland. But from his speech, [he] scorned at people from outside, who are influencing the people of Swaziland to seek for democratic changes, which I believe is wrong,” said Masuku.

He said the Swazi administration has stifled the political opposition by pressuring human rights organizations, trade unions, and civil society groups and banning all political parties.

Some analysts say King Mswati III’s concentration of power is so great - despite the 2006 reintroduction of a constitution - that the country can be considered an absolute monarchy.

Masuku said the government has often used state security agencies to crush peaceful protests calling for democratic reforms.

“We have been calling for a constructive dialogue… it is our fundamental human right to express ourselves to associate. But, they respond by unleashing the security forces against the people,” he said.

Masuku said opposition groups will continue to put pressure on the administration for democratic change.

Clottey interview with Mario Masuku, PUDEMO's leader
Clottey interview with Mario Masuku, PUDEMO's leaderi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

Clottey interview with Obed Dlamini, King Mswati III's adviser
Clottey interview with Obed Dlamini, King Mswati III's adviser i
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More